Culture Victoria

Stitching away

By Andrea Komninos Posted Under Wangaratta Textile Project

There are quite a few things I want to talk about today. First, in these final stages of producing my textile piece,  I feel the need to recapitulate and tell you -in a more organised manner- about the final concept, ideas, process and techniques, and also about what I want to communicate with my work.

I am working around a few of concepts:



  • The many links that the people of Wangaratta have to either Australian Country Spinners or Bruck Textiles



  • The social events that took place at both mills



  • The sense of community and family (if you like) within the mills



  • The cultural, economical and social influence of ACS and Bruck on the development and shaping of the city.



The inspiration for the graphic elements in my piece came mostly from the visits to the mills. The machinery, cones, floors, storage, looms,etc. As well as the large scale of production and the incredible capacity and speed of the machines.






The stories behind my work being a table runner are:



  • Bruck providing cooked meals 24 hours a day to their employees



  • Whole families working together for either ACS or Bruck



  • Migrant employees living together as families and purchasing properties collectively



Now, the process so far has been....



  • Developing the concept (mentally)



  • Hand painting croquis and trying embroidery (stitching) techniques






  • Revisiting old textile samples and redeveloping designs






  • Manipulating images and motifs in Photoshop to create repeats






  • Exposing images on screens and screen printing main panel of the final piece






  • Sampling stitching on strike off print







The stitches mean many things in this work; they incorporate other graphic elements from my croquis and they represent the people involved in the Wangaratta story, the workers at the mill, the gatherings at social and sporting events, the building of the city, the cultural differences of the many migrant employees, the growth of the city, the involvement of Bruck and ACS with the community, the way everyone has a story to do with the mills in Wangaratta, and more... They are also an attempt to be less geometric and organised, less repetitive and squared. More conceptual and freer in my work.


I tried other embroidery stitches, but I'm not very happy about them. Also the colours in my mind and in paper worked pretty well together, but when I added khaki and terracotta to the printed colours, I didn't think they worked that well. I changed terracotta for a light brown and I'm keeping the khaki stitches as they add - in a very subtle way - to the concept and the piece in general.


I am again using natural fibres and fabrics. I printed on calico and I'm hand stitching with fine ramie yarn . I find these materials very humble and beautiful. Calico is basic, plain, inexpensive and unpretentious. And ramie, as a plant fibre, is a bit rough but adds lustre and life to the fabric and it's beautiful to work with.


I hope the final work tells the story as I see it and hopefully the people that are not reading this blog can understand  and relate to it without a written explanation.

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